Words of Biblical Importance

February 22, 2006

New Testament scholar Ben Witherington has raised some important and interesting concerns about the English Standard Version of the Bible on his blog. It has sparked quite a discussion there about the ESV, TNIV, and other translations. Regardless which translation one prefers, there are some important reminders in the dialogue about the importance of words. Picking one over the other can make a significant difference.

For instance, at one point in the comments Witherington writes, "As for the texts I mentioned, in the first place there is an enormous difference in translating Rom. 16.7 as ‘notable to the apostles’ and as ‘notable among the apostles’. The latter refers to this husband and wife as apostles, the former does not."

Change one word and there is a huge difference in the meaning! This helps demonstrate the importance of choosing exactly the right word. While it is especially important in Biblical translations, it is also important in everything that we say and write.